BEIJING (AP) — A powerful typhoon surged across northern Taiwan on Saturday, killing at least one person before moving to southeast China and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people from a coastal province.
Typhoon Soulik disrupted transportation and commerce across Taiwan, with emergency crews around Taipei and in its environs struggling to restore power to the 520,000 homes where it had been disrupted, and to remove hundreds of trees uprooted by the storm from streets and roads.
The storm then made another landing in the heavily populated Chinese coastal province of Fujian on Saturday afternoon, packing winds of 119 kilometers per hour (74 miles per hour), according to China’s National Meteorological Center. That was down from the 163 kph (101 mph) winds the typhoon had boasted on making landfall in Taiwan around dawn.
About 300,000 people in Fujian were evacuated from their homes, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
In Fujian and Zhejiang, another coastal province, train services were suspended, flights canceled and fishing boats called back to ports. China’s weather service warned of possible floods and landslides.
Earlier, torrential rains buffeted large areas of northern and central Taiwan, with Hsinchu and the neighboring county of Miaoli reporting totals of 700-800 millimeters (27-31 inches) by early Saturday.
Schools and businesses throughout northern Taiwan were closed by government order on Friday, and the military evacuated 8,000 people from mountainous villages considered vulnerable to flash flooding.
Just after midnight on Saturday, a falling brick took the life of a policeman in the Taipei suburb of Tanshui, while elsewhere, the National Fire Agency reported there were at least 21 injuries.
Dozens of flights at Taipei’s main international airport were canceled beginning Friday afternoon, though operations were expected to return to normal by late Saturday. Taiwan’s high speed rail system also suspended operations, at least until early Saturday afternoon.